Reagan, behind ground attack, defeats Davie County, 41-21
By Brian Pitts
For the Salisbury Post
PFAFFTOWN — Davie County’s football team had a decision to make going into Friday night’s game at Reagan: Pack it in for what’s left of the season or fight until the bitter end.
Davie chose the latter.
The War Eagles didn’t pull a shocker in Pfafftown, but they showed character in a 41-21 loss. They jumped to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter, and were in the red zone late before Reagan (7-3, 2-2 Central Piedmont Conference) scored on a pick-six with 17 seconds remaining.
Davie (3-7, 0-4) was facing plenty of adversity. Not only has it lost five straight, it was forced to go with freshman Alex Summers at quarterback as sophomore Nate Hampton was sidelined with a cast on his right (throwing) hand.
“We battled for four quarters and went toe to toe with a very good team,” coach Tim Devericks said.
Summers hung tough after throwing a costly interception on the game’s fourth play from scrimmage. Reagan took over at midfield and promptly scored when Daniel Moyer sped 55 yards around right end.
Davie’s offense responded with two scoring drives, a new-look attack working wonders. The War Eagles used a package with Josh Robinson and Tate Carney lining up in the backfield together, and Carney took some snaps and either kept it or handed off to Robinson.
The wrinkles wrong-footed the Raiders, who watched Davie move methodically for a game-tying, 65-yard drive. On the 12th play of the possession, Carney took the snap, faked a handoff to Robinson and ran 8 yards to the end zone.
After Davie’s defense got a three-and-out, Carney ran for 13 yards as a running back. He slid to QB on fourth-and-2, faking to Ben Crenshaw and motoring through the left side for a 25-yard TD that gave Davie the 14-7 lead.
The physical ground game put a spring in Davie’s step. When the first quarter ended, Carney and Robinson had 108 rushing yards between them; Davie had converted 4 of 5 third downs; it had nine first downs to Reagan’s one; and it had controlled the ball, running 25 plays to six for the Raiders.
“We were trying to get our playmakers the ball, and the guys up front did a tremendous job,” Devericks said. “Josh and Tate did a good job blocking for each other.”
Davie’s defense did a pretty good job controlling Reagan’s inside runs, but containing the edge was another matter. The Raiders drove 80 yards, keeping the ball on the ground nine of 10 plays, to tie things at 14.
Just over two minutes later, quarterback Gabriel Hollingsworth broke a tackle and scampered 75 yards to give Reagan a 21-14 lead.
The game’s biggest swing came with less than seven minutes left in the half. With Davie at its 30-yard line, Carney made a remarkable catch-and-run. First he made an acrobatic grab at midfield. Then he made a cutback and cruised to what appeared to be a game-tying 70-yard TD. But a flag was on the wet turf. An official called a receiver who was blocking downfield for clipping, and Davie coaches were seething at the call. The play wound up netting 30 yards, but Davie’s offense stalled.
Two plays after Davie punted, Moyer weaved 65 yards, starting around left end, reversing field and racing down the right sideline for a TD that pushed the halftime margin to 28-14.
The sequence was a kick to the gut — and a microcosm of the War Eagles’ rough season. They never recovered.
“It was questionable, to say the least,” Devericks said of the penalty. “In my book it was a touchdown. It was a 14-point swing. It was huge. We had them reeling a little bit. But give credit to them. They took advantage of it. We didn’t get any points out of it, and they scored a few plays later.”
On fourth-and-7 from the Reagan 19 in the third quarter, a War Eagle dropped a pass that would have moved the chains. Reagan opened a 34-14 gap with 2:18 left in the third, and then Davie got nothing out of a 13-play drive that ended with a turnover on downs at the Reagan 16.
Carney scored his third TD to cut the deficit to 34-21, but only 5:20 remained. With Davie knocking on the door at the Reagan 10 during garbage time, Reagan’s Jamon Brown returned an interception 95 yards to complete the scoring.
Moyer (14 carries for 185 yards) and Hollingsworth (16 carries for 154 yards) gashed Davie repeatedly as the Raiders churned for 424 rushing yards, scored 21 points in a span of 5:09 in the second quarter and beat Davie for the first time since 2015. In wet and muddy conditions, Hollingsworth only attempted 10 passes, eight of which were incomplete.
The War Eagles did a lot of things well offensively. They had 19 first downs, 368 yards and converted eight third downs. Summers went 16 of 29 for 180 yards in his first varsity start. Robinson gained 131 yards on 30 carries, giving him four 100-yard games. Carney had five catches for 119 yards and added 68 rushing yards. It’s the most receiving yards since Cooper Wall’s 121 in last year’s playoff loss at Porter Ridge.
“I’m super proud of them,” Devericks said. “Earlier in the year, that 14-point swing would have been a deflation for us. It wasn’t tonight. We kept battling.”